The Men's Group
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So my attempt at joining the spring in its rite of renewal had failed, my effort to live a "normal" life parboiled-in-place once again by our Commander-In-Chief. My date with Jane had fallen on its face with Dubya's arrival, turning what had been a pleasant evening into an embarrassing debacle. I don't know how I could've felt more frustrated. I was at my wit's end. I decided to seek professional help.
I went to the Yellow Pages and looked under "HELP", and there it was: "Tired? Frustrated? Struggling with Circumstances Beyond Your Control? Then call us at 1-800-R-U-NUTTS." I dialed the number and a pleasant enough woman's voice answered. "Hi! You’ve reached 1-800-R-U-NUTTS and 1-800-U-R-NUTTS — You've Got The Question, We've Got The Answer. This is Shirl, can I help you?"
I then proceeded to tell Shirl my tale of woe, leaving out certain particulars about Dubya, midget assassins, etc., lest they send someone to lock me up before I could hang up the phone. Shirl listened sympathetically, and after a few sentences she interrupted me to ask me for my zip code. She then told me that there was a Mens Group in my area convening that evening, and that I would most certainly find solace/relief if I attended, for only $79.95 plus tax. She said she would include with my order the CD "If Your Head Could Speak", which she recommended as must-hear material in order to get the most out of my experience. After all I'd been through, I said what have I got to lose, and so I gave her my credit card number. She then took all my particulars, thanked me, and said that since I was signing up on a Wednesday she would also include at no extra charge the CD "What Not To Worry About On A Wednesday", which she said I should listen to before beginning the program. Even though R-U-NUTTS's methodology was really starting to sound off the grid, I wanted to keep my an open mind, and so I just said thanks for the gifts and left it at that. She gave me an address to go to downtown at 8PM that evening, and to see a fellow named Rob.
I arrived about 15 minutes early, thinking there might be some sort of first-time formalities to be taken care of. I also hadn't had a chance to listen to any of the materials, so I thought maybe I could get a heads-up from this Rob person. I entered the room and there were 5 or 6 guys sitting on folding chairs arranged in a horseshoe. Everyone sat with their head in their hands, only briefly adjusting their fingers to allow them to see who had entered the room. I sat down on the nearest chair, and after a couple of minutes of silence, I asked if anyone in the room was Rob.
"I'm Rob." The guy sitting directly across from me identified himself, this time moving his hands only enough to allow his mouth to issue the two words.
"Well, hi, I'm..." I had stood up to shake his hand. Now Rob moved one of his hands from his face to block my further approach.
"Please...sit down...I know who you are. We're glad you're here." He grimaced as he spoke.
"Just...trust me. Sit down, please, and prepare yourself for the meeting."
"Just...observe...and do likewise." I looked around and everyone was staring at me through their fingers again. One guy even nodded threateningly, as if I should do as Rob said if I knew what was good for me. Thinking that at least this was something different than being followed by the President, and that I did shell out the eighty bucks, that at I might as well go with the flow. So I sat down in my chair at put my head in my hands.
8PM arrived and everyone sat up in their chairs, practically in unison. Rob spoke.
"Hi my name is Rob, and today is definitely a Wednesday."
A chorus of "Hi Rob!"s answered his announcement. Rob continued.
"I'd like to welcome everyone to tonight's Men's Meeting of "How To Deal With A Wednesday", where our sole purpose is to get through this meeting, and to help others get through this meeting if we can manage to stop thinking of just ourselves for a moment." This guy was really starting to sound scary. I shook my head and started to stand up.
"Hey you guys can't be serious..." I remonstrated. Rob pointed a cautioning finger at me.
"Excuse me, but no cross-talk is allowed here. You will have your opportunity. And please sit down."
"No cross-talk? But this is supposed to be group therapy."
"Sir, if you continue to interrupt the meeting I am going to have to ask you to leave."
I wanted to say something really nasty, but I held my tongue and sat back down. Hey, it was only an hour, and these guys did look harmless enough. Maybe there was some ultimate, worthy point that they had yet to light upon. Rob continued.
"Tonight, as you know, is my last night as leader of our group. It has been a gratifyingly miserable experience to lead you these past months, and it will make me more forlorn than usual to have to pass the torch to your new commander."
Commander. I didn't like the sound of that word.
"Although not a regular member of this group, undoubtedly most of you will be familiar with the gentleman taking my place..." He turned to a Rumpelstiltskin-looking character sitting on my right. "...Except for you, Homer, because we all know you don't vote or watch the news."
Oh no. It couldn't be.
"So, it is with a heavy, heavy, heavy heavy heart, that I turn the meeting over to Dr. George W.B."
'Doctor?" This couldn't be happening.
And so in he strode from the hallway, as stiffly as ever, wearing a white lab coat sporting the ID tag "Dr. W.". He waved his right hand and smiled out at no one in particular, like the two houses of Congress were assembled there right in front of him. I stuck my face back in my hands.
"Thank you, Rob, for the kindly introduction. My name is Dr. Dubya and it is without question a Wednesday."
"Hi Dr. Dubya", rang back the chorus, of which I was not a part.
"Glad to be here tonight with you folks to engage in a little head shrinking...I mean positive thinking...heh."
The group laughed, with several members elbowing each other in knowing approval.
"Well, let's see here... I'm looking around and I haven't seen such glum faces since Donnie Rumsfeld gave his staff autographed pictures of himself instead of Christmas bonuses last year."
Everyone stared dumbfoundedly. Dubya sensed the group's nervousness.
"Well now he did tell those folks they could sell those pics on eBay if they wanted... make a little chump change, y'understand. Problem is everybody showed up as online sellers all at once and it kinda drove the price down. Ended up with folks gettin' together and sellin' three for a dollar."
I was still hiding in my hands. Dubya looked uncomfortable in this new role. Maybe if i just waited him out, he would leave on his own. Instead, he just pushed on through, rubbing his hands together in front of him and making like we were having a town hall meeting.
"You sir..." Dubya pointed at Rumpelstiltskin. "....why don't you tell us about your day?"
"Okay... My name's Homer and today is a Wednesday."
"Hi Homer." The chorus was really starting to bug me.
"Well, let's see... purty much everyone here knows about my wife..."
There was some muffled laughter.
"...and the dog... and all those empty soup cans. Along with all that other stuff I told you about. Well, things're purty much the same way it was last week. I mean, things just ain't... well you know, like other things. Maybe for a Thursday, say -- but not for a Wednesday. And that's all I got to say -- thanks."
Everyone nodded their heads in affirmation. Dubya spoke.
"Wow, Homer, I've heard a lot of great men speak, some in languages
I don't know if anyone understands, but I don't know if I've ever heard the problems that we all face summed up so well in so few words..." That was all I could take. I bolted to my feet.
"What the hell is wrong with you people?! What is all this Wednesday bullshit!? And George, your presidency is in the toilet and you still have nothing better to do than pal around with a bunch of wackos blaming their problems on the day of the week? Jesus Christ..." Dubya put out his hands, palms down, looking to restore order.
"Now friend Steve, we do know that today is Wednesday and that brings out the worst in folks..."
"My my, we are going to have to get you an extra workbook."
"I wouldn't worry about me so much George. The latest polls have your popularity at 29%."
"I don't worry about them things."
"Oh really?" He paused.
"You know what the problem is with them polls?"
"No -- tell me."
"They just ain't talkin' to the right people."
"You can't be serious..."
"I mean, you fellas here think I'm alright now, don't you?
The assembled lot nodded their heads and gave Dubya a mumbled chorus of general affirmation.
"See? Them polls don't know what they're talkin' about."
My shoulders drooped and I sighed heavily. I shook my head in defeat and headed for the door.
"You ain't walkin' out on us now, Steve? Remember, Wednesday ain't over yet..."
I turned before exiting.
"I know, George, I know. I'll just have to make it through somehow." A resounding "Good Night, Steve!" followed me through the door and out to my car. I drove away as fast as I could.
So I don't know where I'm going to turn next. Not only is therapy apparently not an option, but now I have a weird complex about the middle of the week. People are talking about impeaching the guy; Neil Young is singing about it. I'd love to think that impeachment would solve my problem, but that would only give him actual free time to bug the crap out of me. So what would end up as the world's benefit would be my burden. So I'm still in the hunt for a solution, or acceptance, or whatever. The one thing I'm sure of is that I'm glad that one particular Wednesday is over. Indeed. ***